I'm a film student in Minneapolis and I'm pretty sure we didn't know what we were doing when we shot this, but the idea was that we would lock down the camera and expose the background properly without actors as a still, and then we would put the actors in and expose for them for the scene and somehow mix the two in post. It sounded good at the time, and I know I could do it frame by frame in photoshop, but just wondering if there is an easier way with motion or after effects.
Another trick that might work is to use the 2 shot to help generate a mask. If you take the shot with the musicians, desaturate it, invert it (make negative) and then use a levels filter, you can generate a crude matte. This might give you a good starting point, but you would likely have to do some rotoscoping to.
You can come push the buttons or you can let me do my job.
I can see where you are going and I like it. My problem then becomes that a lot of my foliage in the two shot becomes part of that crude mask, specifically the stuff sticking up out of their heads. I am only familiar with rotoscoping as a concept and have never attempted it. Would it be faster to learn and attempt it or use photoshop to individually mask each frame? (which I know very well, but we're talking over 700 frames when it's all said and done)
Typically you try to do one of the suggestions above to get somewhat of a matte. Then if it works everywhere but the ladies head you just rotoscope her head, that way you don't have to roto-scope everything. Motion can automatically rotoscope her head for you so you only have to build a mask on one frame and Motion does the rest. I have a chapter that covers this in my Creative COW training DVD Moving with Motion which is on sale for 19.95. It regularly sells for $50. Best of luck.